Editor’s note — This article appeared in the January, 2012 issue of Lone Star Outdoor News.
Kelsey Boes of Southlake, a freshman at the University of Missouri, had never shot — or even held — a gun, but expressed a desire to experience shooting and hunting to her sorority sister from Dallas.
The sorority sister happened to be the daughter of the founder of Lone Star Outdoor News.
So, during Christmas break, an outing was arranged. The two young women would shoot and hunt quail in northeast Texas at Wildcat Creek Quail Hunting Resort.
Kelsey’s immediate family has never hunted.
“I have an uncle that has hunted some,” she said. “He said to go for it.”
And before beginning the two-hour drive to WCR, she was already catching the bug.
“I’m in the mood to kill something,” she said.
At Wildcat Creek, Nick Parker handled the shooting instructions, starting with gun safety and moving on to shooting, including shots where the instructor pulled the target without notice to the new shooter. After a few hours and several attempts at the range, Kelsey finally connected with a number of clay targets.
It was time to go to the field with Nick as guide.
The field was a quite different experience, at first. Several quail flushed after the German shorthairs’ points without a shot being fired.
The safety on the shotgun had not been turned off.
“I’m an expert with this safety on thing,” Kelsey said. “It’s the safety off part I’m having trouble with.”
Other flushes erupted without success.
“This is really hard,” Kelsey said. “There are so many things to think about — safety, the dogs, the other people around you, keeping the barrel pointed up, keeping my weight forward, ugh.”
Frustration was beginning to set in.
Toward the end of the afternoon, many of the birds that had been hiding in the woods came out into the tall native switchgrass and the dogs locked in. And some of the instructions given began to take hold as a pointing and shooting frenzy ensued — and quail began to fall.
Kelsey, using one shotshell at a time for safety assurance, downed three clean shots. After each shot, her request to the guide was quite loud.
“I need another shell.”
Lili Sams, her sorority sister and friend, also on her first upland hunt, downed four. And several more birds dropped after both young women shot simultaneously.
“They did great after a bit of a slow start,” Nick said. “That 20-bird flurry at the end was classic, the girls got really focused and the birds weren’t startling them. And they did exactly what I told them — they hit more birds than they think they did and they became quick shots after the flush. Quail hunting is really hard for a first-timer and many have done worse.”
After the hunt, the girls enjoyed a 5-star dinner prepared by WCR’s chef, David Parker.
WCR is truly a family affair and vision of Ron and Yvonne Parker and their sons, and the brand new lodge, rooms and atmosphere is family oriented.
“We want the experience to be first-class, but yet not stuffy,” said owner Ron Parker.
The habitat, birds and dogs are first rate, with fields cleared out of the thick woods by Parker, who also owns a construction business.
“And we have cleared saplings in two areas to offer hunters a true Georgia-style quail hunt with tough shots through the trees,” Ron said.
Several flight pens allow for flight training for the pen-raised birds, and the birds are released before the beginning of the season.
“We want the birds to be as wild as possible and explode out of the grass,” Parker said.
And it’s working.
“All of our raised birds are banded,” Nick said. “We are shooting more and more unbanded birds, so some are making it and nesting. And the neighbors are starting to see quail, too.”
As for Kelsey, she said her first hunt wouldn’t be her last.
“I’m getting a shotgun with my Christmas money.”
Wildcat Creek Quail Hunting Resort
(903) 674-2000; email@example.com